Just complete the trip from HELL. While I’m sure I’ve had others that I’ve described similarly, this one clawed its way to the top of the list. And it looked so good at the “Pre Plan” stage. FYI, before a driver is assigned a load he typically gets a Pre Plan. It gives the basic information on when and where a load (including the shipper) will be picked up and the destination city (only).
Well brothers and sisters, as I sat in the TA in Jessup, Maryland, having dropped a load less than a a quarter of a mile to the south of where I was then parked, the Pre Plan chimed in on my Qualcomm: A frozen load to be picked up in Strasburg, Virginia, just over a hundred miles to the west, and transport it to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Hallelujah Brethren! A hundred miles deadhead and 1,800 miles with a load of 21,000 pounds, which is half of what I’d been carrying in the preceding weeks. my MPGs would be astronomical.
After the Load Assignment popped onto my Qualcomm it was followed by FOUR ADDITIONAL STOPS!!!!
And after a quick look at the drop times it was apparent that somebody didn’t think things through very clearly. The cherry on top was that I was to pick the load up at 10 p.m. and have it to the first stop in Taylorville, Illinois at 7 a.m. An all nighter. Oh, a second cherry – the first leg of the route had me driving over two lane roads through the back hills of West Virginia.
My drops would be in Taylorsville and Olney, Illinois, Omaha and North Platte, Nebraska, and Cheyenne, Wyoming – three of them Walmart Distribution Centers.
I’ve been honing my jerk skills lately (no snickering from those who think those skills are just fine the way they are) and so conveyed my plan to NOT drive the back roads and stick to freeways. My tone evidently conveyed my conviction and the nobody I talked to at The Yard didn’t seem to have a problem with it and so noted in her notes on our conversation.
One last problem, I would not be able to make the first stop AND take enough of a break to permit me to make the second stop. They might have scheduled it earlier and I would have been able to make it. They could have scheduled it later to good effect. But the so-called planner “planned” a route that couldn’t be done, legally. Soooo …
I got to the first drop, an independent grocery warehouse, early and was told to go away for a couple of hours. They then found a box that had a hole in it so I had to deal with an OS&D issue. That stands for Overage, Shortage & Damaged. I can’t leave the receiver until I get the go ahead. For one stinkin’ box of meat out of hundreds. Okay. I wasn’t going to be able to make the second delivery anyway. I had started on that remedy already.
For the first time in my driving experience, I had to check in with the shipper at each stop. I did not do that for this first stop because I didn’t ready my Load Assignment instructions thoroughly. My fault I admit. So I called the OS&D department at what I observed to be straight up 8 o’clock. The gruff female voice that answered the phone said they had just gotten in and to please call back in 20 minutes when they had their computers booted up. Alrighty then. I had always been told that starting time was at your desk ready to work, but this was Stevens. Drivers = Bad. Yard personnel = faultless.
That conversation was quickly followed by a snotty Qualcomm message asking whether I had called the shipper, as was instructed in the assignment. Well.
So I called Tyson. Gave them the information; was instructed to get all the identifying labels off the damaged box and see that it was deposited in a “Secure Waste Dumpster.” The lumpers were able to provide me with the labels and split the contents of the box among themselves, I am sure, before they threw the actual box away. I visualized a dumpster with my box in it and moved on.
On the way to my fuel stop, halfway to the second stop a Walmart Distribution Center, I was advised that I would be proceeding to a truck stop a couple of miles from the Center where I would meet another driver who had enough hours to make the actual delivery. It was a no name truck stop that lived up to its label. I’d rate it a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. Not a great place to spend a dozen hours. The other driver showed up, made the delivery, and returned to take his break.
My next two stops was an almost exact replay of the first two, EXCEPT I was able to squeeze an eight hour split and make the second drop (fourth if you’re keeping track) without an hour of service violation. Coincidentally, my next stop, also with an independent grocery warehouse, had a single damaged box. Word was getting around. I still had to drive an overnighter. I ended up making the final delivery in Cheyenne on time and then waited – and waited – for my next load assignment.
I finally got preplan and would be deadheading to Lexington, Nebraska. I soon learned that this trip would be a vast improvement over the one I’d just completed. It only had FOUR drops. Sigh.